A Travellerspoint blog

April 2016

Hiking in Pico do Marumbi Park

I had to meet my parents at the airport on Sunday, so I went to Curitiba to see Franciele again. I had an idea to go to Pico do Marumbi Park together because my guide book said not to go alone. There had been some armed robberies there in the past.

Franciele was happy to get out of the city, if only for one day, so we took off in the morning for the park. A man was selling pinhao on the way there and we picked up a bag of them to enjoy for breakfast the next day.

We drove down a windy mountain road, all the way to the bottom and then parked our car on a dirt road somewhere near the park entrance. We took the chance of getting our car stolen or towed, and didn't bother parking in the paid parking lots.

We followed the main path and climbed all the way up to the railroad tracks. There was an old seemingly abandoned station, which led to another functional train station. We got a little lost, because we followed the train tracks to a bridge, which we crossed, but it was terrifying for me. When we came to a second, more dangerous and terrifying bridge, I convinced Franciele to turn around and go back. Fifteen minutes later, of course, a giant freight train came barrelling down that same bridge. If we hadn't turned around, there would have been a huge problem, which might have involved jumping off the bridge and perhaps dying.

From there, we hiked up the mountain to a small waterfall. The park ranger told us we could go and see a nice waterfall and it would only take 1.5 hours. It was not easy, we were basically scrambling up the whole way. However, it was a lot of fun, like climbing a giant playground obstacle for hours.

There was a point when the mountain "trail" became about 85 degrees and we got really tired. But (!!!) we hadn't seen the waterfall yet, or so we thought. The sound of the water was getting further away the more we climbed, so we figured that we must have passed it. When we climbed back down we realized that yes, this small stream must have been the "waterfall" the park ranger described to us. We laughed and then sat down on the rock and ate the best cheese sandwiches of our lives.

The way down went by really quickly and soon we found ourselves at Franciele's car again. It didn't get stolen or towed and we were exhausted, but hungry for some barreado in Morretes. It was a nice night and there was a farmers' market, so we bought some cachaca and banana candies for my parents and wandered around until we found a restaurant serving the delicious beef stew. We also got a nice cold beer and enjoyed the rest of the night nursing our tired legs.

Franciele drove back and we went right to sleep.

Stained glass at train station

Stained glass at train station


Franciele on the path

Franciele on the path


Marumbi

Marumbi


Train station

Train station


The "waterfall"

The "waterfall"


One red tree

One red tree


The hike

The hike


The "waterfall"

The "waterfall"


The "waterfall"

The "waterfall"


The "waterfall"

The "waterfall"


Going down

Going down


The train station

The train station


Pinhao

Pinhao

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Extended the visa and beer "festival"

My boss' son drove me to the police station to renew my visa for another three months. I was a little worried it wouldn't work, but the police officer was more interested in planning his weekend with his friend on the phone than actually reading my application form. He just stamped it without looking at anything and we left with a fancy new sticker in my passport.

I had already bought a ticket to Florianopolis for the weekend again, but I learned that there would be a beer and hamburger "festival" in town the day after I bought my ticket. I asked boss' son if he could stop at the bus station so I could cancel my ticket and he was nice enough to do that, so then I went to the party on Saturday instead of Florianopolis.

As I was walking there, Deleon my ex Portuguese teacher saw me in his car and brought me to the festival. I ate a churro and tried each of the three beers on tap. I was a little bewildered. Three beers does not a festival make. I was disappointed and not in the mood for the band, so I watched only a few songs and then went home.

Me vs. strawberry churro

Me vs. strawberry churro


The band

The band

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Beach dayyyyyy

I made it to Florianopolis an hour late, and Renan was waiting there for me. He had to go to work, but he just wanted to show me the bus to Santo Antonio de Lisboa before he went. So, we walked over to the bus station and went our separate ways.

I took the bus all the way to Sambaqui and walked 3 km back to Santo Antonio, enjoying the cool morning air. The rest of the day would become unbearably hot, I was glad I was near the ocean this weekend.

When I arrived at Santo Antonio, I saw a quaint oyster shack, but they weren't open until 12, oh how typical. So, I attempted to catch another bus to the fort at the north of the island. I ended up waiting forever because I didn't know which one to take and not all of the buses would stop for me. I finally decided to walk down the street to the next stop where yes, the right bus stopped for me.

I took this bus all the way to the end, where the old fort is. It had beautiful views of the mainland and ocean. Back in the day it must've been so lousy and boring living there, looking out for attackers, but the cachaca and seafood must've been amazing. It would have been the simple pleasures that made life on a tropical, humid, mosquito infested, deserted island bearable.

Anyway, when I got there, it was closed (of course) and I had an acai berry sundae outside the gates while I waited for it to open. That acai berry stuff is awesome, how have I not tried it before?!

After the fort, I walked down to the beach, where I slept in the shade for three hours. Then, I walked down to Jurere beach, which was more of the same, but it was packed and there wasn't any shade. By the time I walked down the length of the beach, I was hungry again and tired, so I went into town and found tomatoes, peanuts and grapes alongside some Uruguayan beer. I was doing alright, and I walked back down to the beach to eat by sunset.

When it got dark I took the bus all the way back to Renan's place, it took two whole hours. I fell asleep a few times on the bus, but it was OK because the system is really easy, you always take the bus to the end and just switch to the next one until you get where you want to go.

No one was home when I got there, so I just took a shower and went to bed. I fell asleep as soon as I flopped down on the mattress on the floor.

In the morning Renan made me eggs and coffee. He even brought me back to the bus station and I took the same bus home, as well as bought another ticket to go right back next weekend.

Sambaqui beach

Sambaqui beach


Sambaqui beach

Sambaqui beach


Sambaqui beach

Sambaqui beach


Walk to Santo Antonio

Walk to Santo Antonio


Church in Santo Antonio

Church in Santo Antonio


Church in Santo Antonio

Church in Santo Antonio


Fort

Fort


Frozen acai berry thing

Frozen acai berry thing


Fort

Fort


Me vs. fort

Me vs. fort


Me vs. fort

Me vs. fort


From the top

From the top


Out the window

Out the window


Little museum

Little museum


Me vs. fort

Me vs. fort


From the top

From the top


Fort

Fort


Me vs. beach

Me vs. beach


Praia do Forte

Praia do Forte


Praia do Forte

Praia do Forte


Praia do Forte

Praia do Forte


Praia do Forte

Praia do Forte


Jurere beach sunset

Jurere beach sunset

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Kalinka disaster

I hitched a ride with my students again on Friday night. One of them has a class at the college nearby Kalinka, the restaurant I wanted to try because it has such rave reviews on Trip Advisor. So, he dropped me off there. I was kind of excited to go there because the atmosphere looked so chill and amazingly beautiful.

When I got there, the photos were realistic. A beautiful wooden patio with soft white lights greeted me. I sat down and felt something digging into my posterior. Oh, it must just be the splinters from the wood and I ignored it.

I ordered a beer and a hamburger, the waitress said it was their specialty. The beer came, and it was cool and smooth. They sent me the person who spoke the best English and he explained it was locally brewed and that the BBQ hamburger was very good.

Twenty minutes later (at least) it appeared with ice cold fries. When I tried to take a bite of the sandwich it just crumbled and the insane amount of sauce exploded all over my face. I asked the English waiter to get it cut in half. They had already given me a butter knife to cut it with, which was already a disaster. This time, I wanted it cut thinner, like... horizontally??? And I made the motions with my hand. My hamburger came back in pieces like dog food. I told him I wasn't paying for that so they finally brought me a thinner one.

I tried to enjoy the crappy John Mayer cover band and attempted to eat my new hamburger, finally. A few minutes into it, some guy came to borrow my chair. I let him have it, obviously. Suddenly I felt that weird stabbing in my butt again. When I reached down to see what it was, I was rewarded with a giant gash on my thumb. Seriously??? WTF was this restaurant's problem??? I told everyone who had anything to do with my experience at this establishment, and the English speaking waiter said it's not their fault I got glass in my hand. Oh really? Whose was it then? It certainly wasn't mine...

They left me alone for a while and the waiter told me someone at the chair guy's table wanted to buy me a drink. I asked why, and the waiter lied and said he didn't know... I asked for the drink advertised on a card on the table, a cucumber martini. Sounds refreshing right??? But of course, they didn't have it (why advertise it if you don't have it?) and he brought me some chocolate abomination instead. Thanks for that, old man at chair guy's table... I guess... and I waved and smiled thanks.

The old man at the table came over and launched right into his pitch. He used my iPod to tell me he wanted me to go to his hotel and take a shower. Needless to say, I was furious. I translated back that I wasn't a prostitute and that he was a bad influence on the young men at his table.

Something must've gotten lost in the translation because he abruptly said "I'm not gay!" and left.

Well... that was one way to get rid of him I suppose.

After that drink, I wasn't feeling too good, so I figured it was best to leave, on the off chance the waiter and that man were in cahoots and had slipped something in my drink. I went to the cash to pay (only for the beer) and saw one of the young men from the old man's table on the restaurant land line. WHO ARE YOU!? They WERE in cahoots!!! The waiter told me he was the owner. THEN I was REALLY pissed.

Now I was not only angry, I was also afraid I had been drugged and that these strange men who owned this terrible restaurant were making arrangements to bring me back to their hotel against my will. I was even more furious than before. I told them that I wasn't paying for anything, and that I was shocked that the owner of this fine establishment would imply that I was a prostitute. I ran out to the nearest bus stop as fast as possible. I was waiting for the bus, frightened I would suddenly black out, but it was better to pass out at a random bus stop than in that bar.

The bus eventually came, and I was feeling feverish and a lot more drunk than I should've been after one beer and a martini, but I was safe at the intercity bus station. My bus to the beach left a half hour late and then I was off, never to return to Kalinka again.

The first attempt at cutting the burger

The first attempt at cutting the burger


This is what the chef did

This is what the chef did


WTF!?

WTF!?

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Beautiful city

In the morning I woke up at 7 and left. Renan thought I was mad, but I really wasn't, just a little perplexed at the way I was manipulated. The reason why it ended up that way remains unclear to me.

Anyway, I walked down the hill and just missed the bus on its way back to Florianopolis. So, I kept walking in the direction of the bus until the next bus came, and of course, I missed that one, so I waited in the next covered station, because it had started to drizzle.

By the time I got to the city, it was about 8 a.m., but way too early to do anything, so I wandered down to the suspension bridge, which is now abandoned, and meandered around in the pedestrianized shopping zone, which was empty on a Sunday morning.

The historical museum didn't open until 10, so I attempted to find some breakfast. I finally did, but they only had some pastries. That was fine, and the fresh squeezed juice was exactly what I needed. I waited there until the museum opened, amongst the old men presumably hanging out while their wives were in church at one of the cathedrals nearby. I wish I could've asked them what they were doing there drinking beer so early on a Sunday morning.

The central park was beautiful, with a giant fig tree that is said to grant you fame and fortune if you walk around it three times. I was too tired to try it and find out. :P

The former governor's palace was converted into the municipal historical museum and it was just lovely. I spent a good part of an hour admiring the interior decor.

Soon, it was time to get back on the bus and go home. I was so sleepy that I couldn't even bring myself to get off the bus when we stopped for 15 measly minutes for lunch. When I finally made it home I was famished.

Suspension bridge

Suspension bridge


Pedestrian street

Pedestrian street


Fig tree

Fig tree


Santa Catarina Historical Museum

Santa Catarina Historical Museum


Metropolitan cathedral

Metropolitan cathedral


Oldest building in Floripa

Oldest building in Floripa


Inside governor's residence

Inside governor's residence


Inside governor's residence

Inside governor's residence


Inside governor's residence

Inside governor's residence


Inside governor's residence

Inside governor's residence


Inside governor's residence

Inside governor's residence

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

The beach!

So I slept all the way to Florianopolis, it wasn't too bad, but it's way better to do this type of overnight travel in China, where there are actual flat beds to sleep on. I woke up a little groggy, but it wasn't as bad as sleeping in a chair, like you have to on holidays in China.

Renan was supposed to meet me at the bus station, but he was an hour late. So, I just got changed and cleaned up in the bathroom, trying to kill time until he came.

Renan was pretty smelly, he had the smell of clothes that were left to dry in the shade and then grew some gross bacteria on it. He brought me to his house, which is at the top of a HUGE hill. Then he said we had to take a shower and eat lunch before going to the beach. This took an extraordinarily long time as well. We didn't get to the beach until 2 p.m. at least. We also had to stop at his friend's house before we went, but his friend wasn't there. Sometimes couch surfing is not so great... sigh. I really appreciate the hospitality and effort, but sometimes people just don't get it.

When we finally got to the beach, bees were chasing us, but mostly Renan, probably because of the smell, I don't know. After we found a good place to relax, I finally had a little snooze. I woke up in an hour and Renan was escorting me back home. We got back at around 4:30 or 5, and he immediately told me he had to go and "get some medicine" and he would be back in 30 minutes and that I should wait for him. Mhmm, "medicine", right.... I told him that I wanted to buy him dinner and that maybe we could go together... he said he didn't eat dinner until 10 p.m. at least and that when he came back we could go get dinner then. I fell asleep waiting for him.

I was woken up at midnight to eat some stew and rice, not the dinner of seafood at a beachside shack that I was hoping to buy him. I was sad and told him so, he seemed confused.

After that, I went to bed and told myself I'd wake up early to make up for the egregious amount of time I wasted staying with this weirdo.

Top of the hill

Top of the hill


Renan before he did all that weird stuff

Renan before he did all that weird stuff


Campeche beach

Campeche beach


Campeche beach

Campeche beach


Campeche beach

Campeche beach


Campeche beach

Campeche beach


Campeche beach

Campeche beach


Campeche beach

Campeche beach

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Mexican food

So, there's only one bus to take from Ponta Grossa to Florianopolis early Saturday morning at 1 a.m. My last student on Friday offered me a ride to the bus station, so I got to Ponta Grossa at about 8 p.m. With all those hours to kill, I had to find something awesome to do.

I looked up the top restaurant on Trip Advisor and it was Montecito, just north of the bus station. I downloaded the maps and went out looking for this place. I got really lost and kept walking around the wrong park. I asked some police officers where to go and they told me to go in the wrong direction. When I finally figured this out, a nice taxi driver put me in the right direction. At that point, I was really feeling like crying. I don't think any police officer every gave me the wrong directions in my life! I was so frustrated.

After he got me on track, I wasn't that far away at all. I found this atmospheric place quite easily. I grabbed a seat on the patio and sipped a big beer until my "piggy" burrito came. That's what the waitress said was their specialty, "piggy burrito"... OK gimme the piggy!

I noticed this guy was sitting all alone and so I asked him if he wanted to eat with me, he said his friends were coming soon, but we could all eat together. Hurray!

We talked for many hours, they all spoke wondrous English, it was a really nice night. Luana owns a hair salon in Ponta Grossa, so maybe if I'm there in the daytime sometime, I'll actually get my haircut from someone who speaks English.

Montecito

Montecito


Me vs. chopp

Me vs. chopp


Chopp vs. cactus

Chopp vs. cactus


Cactus vs. chopp

Cactus vs. chopp


Lonely guy

Lonely guy


Me vs. burrito

Me vs. burrito

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)

Stuck

In the morning, I went down to breakfast and there was a full array of pastries, including key lime pie, fresh buns, ham, cheese, yogurt and cafe com leite.

After that, I went back to the bus station to try and find a bus to any, and I meant ANY of the FIVE villages listed in my guidebook. They were all held up as exemplary architectural wonders of Ukrainian immigrant engineering. None of the three companies could provide me with any means of getting there and back in one weekend. Some of them were as close as 10 km away. The bus station workers advised me to take a taxi. Forget it. I gave up on the Ukrainian splendour.

Without anything to do for the rest of the day, I walked without any hope to the Ukrainian museum. My guidebook said it was closed on Saturdays so I had zero enthusiasm for the effort of finding it. Which was a little confusing because the Google map I downloaded was wrong and there was no address for it in the guidebook. I was amazed to find a nice old lady with purple hair waiting in the lobby for her visitors. She was very happy to see me and she showed me around, repeatedly saying "Prudentopolis" and "Ukraine" over and over again, until she believed I understood the point. I wasn't allowed to take any photos. Although it was quite interesting and a nice homey collection of miscellaneous old Ukrainian things, once again, I was feeling uncomfortable in a small museum, being watched like a hawk.

The only other sight in town was the Ukrainian cathedral. It opened at 10, so I waited outside until some young families showed up for their childrens' baptism day. That was really nice and a special day for them, so it was interesting to watch. I chilled out there until the bus left for Ponta Grossa again at 11:30.

This trip should've been a day trip, but I'm stubborn, so I left at night on Friday. I should've done more research about those small villages, but I was just too sick this week to care about it. All in all, I had a good breakfast and I saw some nice traditional architecture and some sweet families being happy. Success despite the disappointment.

Breakfast at Hotel Burack

Breakfast at Hotel Burack


Giant church

Giant church


Ukrainian museum

Ukrainian museum


Ukrainian church

Ukrainian church


Ukrainian church

Ukrainian church

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Brazil Comments (0)